December 31, 2007

Celebrate Your Wins

For the past year, I've been enjoying a newsletter from ArtBizCoach, Alyson Stanfield. Two newsletters ago, Alyson presented the questions below as a way to help you review your accomplishments. I won't bore you with my answers, but I feel that it was time well spent. It's way too easy to forget all the small accomplishments throughout the year!

How did you promote your art?
What did you do to enhance your online presence?
What technological skills did you learn or improve?
How many people did you add to your mailing list?
Who were the top ten cool or influential people you met?
Did you create a new business card, portfolio, or other marketing piece?
What medium or skill did you attempt or master?
What did you try that was completely new?
What did you try that was uncomfortable, but helped you grow?
What new art events, galleries, and museums did you visit?
What resources did you discover?
How did you improve your studio habits?
What books did you read to help your career?
What seminars/workshops/lectures did you attend?
What organizations were you involved with?
What grants/honors/awards did you receive?
What articles were written about your work?
What submissions did you make?
Where did you save a wad of money?
What was the single best thing that happened to your art career in 2007?

Jewelry Pouch
I gave my daughter some jewelry for Christmas and then realized that she was dumping it into a plastic bag. So the day after Christmas she picked out three different fabrics from my stash and I made her this jewelry pouch.I've made quite a few of these over the years, so it went together pretty quickly.Here you can see that there are eight individual spaces to keep your jewelry separate so you don't end up with a giant jewelry ball. You can also store larger pieces in the base of the pouch.

December 30, 2007

Setacolor Transformation

Today my Fibervision buddy, Lora Martin, showed me a new painting technique that she learned from Phil Beaver. I saw some of Lora's beautiful painted fabric at our Fibervision Christmas Exchange and my inquiring mind had to know how. The technique involves stretched fabric, lots of water, Setacolor paint and salt. It is so much fun watching the transformation. Thanks Lora, I LOVE IT!
These composites will show the transformation over 4 hours. The white splotches are rock salt.This is Lora's beautiful painted fabric. We think the fabric is Kona Cotton. Water sat on the surface for much longer and it reacted differently than mine.

I painted both of my pieces at the same time, using the same color palette. The colors are more saturated in this one. This piece looks like flames.My paint was diluted with more water for this one. As you can see the final effect is lighter. I used Kaufman Pinatex for both pieces. For some reason, both of my pieces look like the shapes have been outlined with a dark marker. I certainly don't know why, but it's very cool.

The fabric and salt will remain untouched until it is completely dry. I believe the transformation is complete, however, there may be more surprises awaiting me in the garage!

December 27, 2007

Nicky Claus

For those that celebrate, hope you had a Merry Christmas. My neighbor and her poodle, Nicky, stopped by to wish us a Merry Christmas and give us some home baked goodies. This is what I saw when I opened the door.Nicky Claus! I cracked up and ran to get my camera. Nicky is the sweetest poodle I ever met. He had special training so he can visit people in hospitals and nursing homes. I'm sure this little Santa suit made many people smile!
Here are some of the ATC's I received during this months trading session. As always they are much nicer in person.

December 23, 2007

Happy Dance!

Yippee, my studio is compete! Here is a photo of my Viking Designer I in its new home. It's amazing how comfortable it is to sew at this height. The first thing I sewed was the hem on my husbands shorts because he threatened to leave a nasty comment on my blog if I didn't fix them soon. Then I made a postcard out of the leftover coaster fabric.
I am extremely happy with the way my studio turned out. This is by far the most functional layout yet and I expect it to stay like this for a long time. The room is approximately 10' x 12' and every space is utilized. Unfortunately, I can't get back far enough to get a good photo of the full room. Here is a side shot of the new sewing table. Each end has a stack of drawers like the one you see here. The space directly above the first drawer is a pull out shelf which is going to be extremely useful.
My sewing table backs up to an L shaped table, so I will have a huge working surface for large projects. I think I could have 3 people working fairly comfortable in this space. I'll have to test that theory out soon.This shows the L shaped table from the opposite direction. You can see my laptop in the forground, this is where I do all my blogging, photo & computer work.Here's the other end of the L shaped desk. There is a ton of storage underneath and behind this area.I found some fabric that I won't use and will donate it to a local group. After organizing everything I have one empty shelf that will hold a large bin for leftover scraps. Thanks to my interior decorator friend, Nancy, I still need to find a way to store approximately 25 pounds of upholstery fabric.

December 22, 2007

Photoshop Manipulated Coasters

I started with a photo of some foamy ocean water, adjusted the saturation and color balance quite a bit and twisted the whole image. This is what it looked like after I printed it on treated cotton fabric.

I added a layer of Timtex to the back and couched yarn along the contours and free motion stitched in the blue areas with rayon thread. I added foiled circles to top. I cut four circles from the piece and stitched around the perimeter of each.

I popped the circles into the center of these acrylic coasters and sealed the back and Ta-da, I have a unique Christmas present!
Here's a photo of my lonely chair and lamp waiting for it's new sewing table! It has arrived and I'm hard at work filling up all the drawers. I really, really love the new layout. Photos to come shortly.

December 17, 2007

Studio Remodel

Yeah, I'm getting a new sewing table on Friday. I currently have my sewing machine on top of a desk. The storage in this desk is wonderful but my shoulders and neck get pretty tense when sewing/quilting for for an extended period of time. I'm hoping that having the sewing surface flush with the cabinet will help this problem.
It's never as simple as replacing one piece of furniture, is it? Of course not! I measured everything, drew a floor plan and rearranged until I had the perfect layout. It took me most of the weekend to move everything out, organize, and move it back in.
My space is more open and friendly and best of all . . . my back is not to the door. I tend to get really involved while I'm working and don't hear people coming in, so I get scared a lot. Not any more, or at least not as much (I hope).
I know I have a lot of stuff and I really Love all my stuff, well, most of it anyways. I've purchased some really ugly fabric over the years and have no idea why. What was I thinking? Well, I'm going to clear all of that out of here. I'm sure somebody, somewhere will LOVE it!
You can see most of the fabric wall in this photo, each rolled up piece is at least one yard. The larger pieces are in the closet, which are also being rolled up. This was taken before everything was put away. It's much neater now.Here's a close up of my fabric wall. The fabric is rolled up, jelly roll style, tied and stored on end. This wall of fabric always makes a BIG impression with visitors.The oak unit is packed with one-half yard pieces of fabric. Each drawer holds a different color and the large drawer on the bottom has a lot of hand painted/dyed/discharged fabric. The plastic drawer unit also has fabric and stabilizers and there are more bins under the table!
As you can probably tell I have a lot of stuff! After my trip to the LA garment district in January, I'm going to stay out of stores that sell fabric, beads or yarn, as much as possible. I can't fit any more in here and I certainly can't use it all in my lifetime.

December 14, 2007

Take It Further Challenge

I signed up for a challenge that will be starting in January called "Take it Further". I often find that a challenge forces me think differently and try new ideas that I may not have tried otherwise. I really like challenges!
Susan B will be the administrator for this monthly technique challenge. On the 1st of each month she will post a concept and/or color challenge (your choice). The challenge is to take the idea, develop it and push it towards a resolved design during that month. You can work in any medium and size that you chose. Post your progress throughout the month on your blog.
Sound interesting? You're not alone . . . there are already over 200 artists from all backgrounds signed up.

December 13, 2007

The Cat is Out of the Bag!!

I have some very exciting news and I was sworn to secrecy for the past nine months! But now, faithful readers, I've been told that I can let the cat out of the bag.
C & T is publishing a book by Rayna Gillman and my quilt "Branching Out" is in it. I'm sure this is going to be a fantastic book and I can't wait to get my hands on it. I love the cover Rayna, it would surely make me pick it up. It will be available for sale in June of 2008, but Rayna is taking orders in advance for an autographed copy.
Rayna is a wonderful teacher and I highly recommend taking a workshop with her. She makes surface design very fun and easy.

December 10, 2007

Do I Like Bright Colors?

Yes, I do. Actually, I haven't met a color I don't like, but bright colors make me very happy. I guess my Blockhead friends have noticed because they chose some eye popping colors for my Seminole Strips.
If you don't like bright colors, it's time to turn away. Consider yourself warned!

Aren't they beautiful? We had a lot of fun at the Blockhead Christmas Party. Great company, wine, food, fabric exchange and our Seminole Strip Exchange. Below are 8 out of the 9 strips exchanged (Ranell couldn't make it).

December 8, 2007

Seminole Strip Exchange

I've been busy piecing Seminole Strips for my "Blockheads" group exchange. Here are the rules: 1. Choose fabric with colors that you like and give a piece to each participant 2. Select a Seminole pattern 3. Make the chosen Seminole strip for each person, using colors from their fabric sample. Here are the strips I made, the inspiration fabric is shown on the far left:

My fabric sample and strip is the first one shown above; orange background with a green and blue cross. The fabric has many colors, all very bright.It has been a long time since I pieced a traditional block. There was a lot more precise measuring and stitching than I remembered!We actually did the exchange earlier today. I'll take some photos tomorrow and show you all of the strips I received. I knew my fabric was bright, but I was surprised just how bright the finished strips were. They are great and I love the way they turned out.

November 27, 2007

More Painted Fabric

Can you believe that I have more painted fabric to share with you? Once I got started, it was so much fun, I couldn't stop. Warning: Before you do this, cover your area with paper or plastic.This first piece is completely covered in Lumiere. It is quite shiny and stiff like paper. You need to work fairly quick for this technique. This piece was painted with a 50/50 mix of Setacolor and water. I used two blues and one red. After the fabric was painted, I added some creases for texture. I sprayed another piece of fabric with water and placed it directly on top of the wet paint. I pressed the fabric down and rubbed gently in places. The top fabric absorbed some of the color and resulted in a softer version. This next piece was a new technique for me and I'm sure I'll do it regularly. You will need Elmer's Gel Glue, a foam stamp, fabric and paint. I used a 50/50 mix of Setacolor and water, two blues and one yellow. This photo is showing you what the fabric looks like after it has been completely stamped with the glue. I used a foam brush to spread the glue and added more glue between impressions. Be careful not to add too much glue though, you will loose the details. This shot is showing how it looked as I started to add color. The flowers magically appear as soon as the color is applied. Make sure to choose colors that will blend well.Here's the piece completely covered in wet paint. It was much darker than I had hoped and I thought that I had ruined it. But the paint actually continued to mix together and it lightened considerably as it dried. The stamp became more pronounced as the fabric dried. It ended up looking like a beautiful batik!
I also ran six sheets of treated cotton through my inkjet printer with wonderful results. I'm not going to show those though, I have to leave something as a surprise! Now I have so many beautiful fabrics, I'm not sure which ones I want to trade with my Fibervision group.

November 25, 2007

Fiber ATC's

I actually finished these ATC's early. I really enjoy experimenting with different mediums, but this month I decided to use some left over pieces of fabric from my Revision challenge and scrap basket.For the base I used a sheet of stiff felt and arranged my fabric strips on top. I covered the whole piece with yellow shimmer tulle and did an allover meandering quilting stitch.

I cut the the finished cards (2.5 x 3.5"), stitched each one with an additional linear pattern and satin stitched around the outside edge.

Now I need to get back to fabric painting for the Fibervision exchange and Seminole Stips for the Blockhead exchange.

November 23, 2007

Painted Fabric

It's been a very exciting week. Lots of new work in progress. I've been having fun playing with paint. Here are a couple of the pieces I've finished for the Fibervsion Christmas Exchange:

This piece is a commercial fabric that had white on white roses. I bought it with the intention of painting it. It has 3 layers of different paints. Some areas are highlighted with metallic Lumiere.This began as a plain white pfd fabric. I applied metallic Lumiere to the cross section of pool noodle and stamped the large circles. I then stamped with sponge and a rubber stamp. Once dry, the metallic paint acts as a resist. I wet the fabric and applied green, blue and yellow Dye-na-flow all over. I sprinkled salt on top and added another wet layer of fabric on top and squished it all together. The top fabric picks up the excess paint and leaves you with a pretty soft pastel version of the base layer.

I removed the excess paint from my sponge and bottles with this piece of fabric. It didn't take too long for me to notice the wonderful colors and textures developing. I finished the piece by rubbing and scraping both transparent and opaque paint onto the surface and then used stamps to add additional texture.

It was actually painted in this horizontal orientation, but I flipped it around 9o degrees counter clockwise and loved the composition. I instantly saw a landscape and decided to add a palm tree that was left over from another project.

What do you think? Should I continue with my landscape vision or chop it up and use it as fabric?

This piece actually began quite a while ago. It was two silk-screened prints side by side. I decided to embellish it with more paint and texture and blend it to create one long piece. all the shapes are outlined with Lumiere.

ELVERHOJ MUSEUM: The reception was a lot of fun. It was so exciting to see our work hanging in such a fantastic venue. It truly looks amazing. I was very proud of all of us. I am very thankful to be part of such a talented and friendly group of artists. I sold one wall piece during the reception and quite a few postcards. Pieces of the Past (posted on Aug 19th), will have a new home in January. Fortunately, I know the new owner, so I've been granted visitation rights! LOL Cathi, I hope you enjoy the piece as much as I enjoyed making it!

November 13, 2007

Photoshop Fun

I belong to an online Surface Design group that does a lot of trades. Joanna organizes many trades between wonderful artists throughout the world. I work too much and don't get enough play time, so I'm really careful how many trades I sign up for. Sometimes, I just can't resist, and this is one of those times. This postcard trade is going to be using Photoshop manipulated designs. Here's one example of what I'm playing with. Let me know what you think.This is the "Before" Photoshop manipulation photo. It is a metal grid that holds a large outdoor light in a parking lot. I was instantly attracted to the linear graphic pattern. There is no telling what I will stop to take a photo of. I'm sure many people think I'm a bit strange! LOL

This is the "After" Photoshop Manipulation photo. It still has the same basic structure but I think it's more exciting. Here's how I did it, more or less. Keep tweaking the numbers until you get the effect that works best for your photo.

1. Choose Layer/Adjustment Layer/Color Balance and move the sliders until you get a color you like. You can select different color combinations for the Shadows/Highlights/Midtones.

2. Make sure your background layer is highlighted. Select Filter/Texture/Stained Glass. Move the sliders for different effects. Smaller cells will result in an image that resembles the original. Larger cells will be very abstract. Here are my parameters: cell size: 7, border thickness: 4, light intensity: 4.

3. Choose Layer/Flatten Image/Save As: jpg. If you want to save as a Photoshop file, do not flatten image.

Make sure you play with all the sliders and try to keep notes on the effects you like. Otherwise, you won't remember how to do it again! Hope you find this helpful.

November 12, 2007

Newest Creations

I've been busy with several projects. In an earlier post, I mentioned a challenge from Fibervision called Revision or Regurgitation. We exchanged UFO's with each other and finished them. We could do anything we wanted to it and it remains ours. The piece I received was odd shaped pieces of purple seminole. There were so many seams, I felt it would be difficult to use in any other way but as a background. I cut and pieced the shapes to make a background and proceeded to applique organic curved shapes. The first layer is cotton, some hand painted, some commercial. The second layer was beautiful organza ribbon I purchase in San Francisco. The third layer is yarn. It measures approximately 18 x 30".
This next piece was re-made from a large, over-sized (did I mention HUGE) blouse. I purchased it at a fiber sale put on by our guild. The fabric was gorgeous and it only cost $5.00, so of course I had to have it. The fabric is cut velvet with a black sheer background. It looks and feels wonderful. I've only used 1/3 of the HUGE blouse, so I have plenty left for another project. I'm thinking either a vest or a handbag.
These are two of the paper ATC's I created for our exchange this month. You may remember the background above from an earlier post. It was created with paint and salt. I stamped and embossed and glued snowflakes on top. The holograms are b&w brick buildings, the image changes as you change the direction of the card.
This piece was created by painting gesso on a plastic shape and transferring onto the paper. It was painted with watercolors, metallic powder and then highlighted with metallic ink. The strips and rectangles are copper foil.

November 6, 2007

Architectural Inspirations

For the past month, I've been walking all over Santa Barbara during my lunch break. I've been fascinated by the architecture and decided to go back to some of my favorite places with my camera. Here are a few of the place I photographed today:This is Jimmy's Chinese Restaurant. It is a historic landmark and is about to undergo renovation. I LOVE the colors and hope they don't change it.This is a wall at the Historical Museum. I love the layers of decaying color and texture next to the new window shutter. This is a restored bedroom at the Presidio where the Spanish soldiers slept. Every single brick used in the construction of this building were made by hand and baked in the sun.